The Panyard

The space where steelbands (steel drum bands) rehearse is known as a panyard. Early in the steelband movement they were also the places where pan makers experimented with and developed the instruments.

In Trinidad, they are usually located outdoors in vacant lots. While they have the advantage of more space and realistic acoustics, indoor rehearsal spaces provide protection from inclement weather, privacy, security for equipment and players. Indoor rehearsal spaces also require less setting up and dismantling before and after rehearsals.

It is best to sound proof the room but you do not want it to be ‘dead’. Try to make the sound in the rehearsal space the same or close to the sound produced when playing outdoors.

Double doors are preferred entrances and exits. Moving pans, (especially bass pans) through single doors can be very awkward.

Hand trucks, platform carts or dollies are useful. They can make moving the instruments significantly easier and reduce moving time.

It is always useful to have a repair kit to deal with minor repairs of the instruments and stands.

The repair and maintenance kit should include:

  • A pair of pliers (for tightening/loosening screws and straightening the hooks on the pan stands)
  • Cleaning supplies such as a soft cloth for dusting and polishing and chrome polish for chromed pans
  • Extra screws, extra pan sticks/mallets, extra stick tips, extra pan straps (cable ties make excellent quick fixes for broken pan straps.)

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